Justice Ministry Film Night: The Monarch: A Butterfly Beyond Borders

The monarch butterfly is at once the most familiar and the most mysterious butterfly in the world. It amazes us for what we know about its life and it tantalizes us for the secrets it still holds within its delicate frame – secrets that scientists and lay people in North America have been trying to unravel for decades.

We know that monarchs east of the Rockies travel thousands of miles every winter to specific sites in Mexico, while those west of the Rockies migrate to sites in California. How they find their way to sites they have never seen before remains a puzzle. Today, monarchs face environmental threats at both ends of their migratory route. This beautiful documentary looks at what we now know but more importantly it reveals what we still do not know about this amazing creature.

The migratory monarch butterfly is now classified as “Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

YOU can help avert monarch extinction. UU Animal Ministry will provide attendees with a
handout detailing the current status of the butterfly crisis, and master gardener Jennifer Oversmith will share tips on how to create a monarch garden in your yard.

On Saturday, Oct. 7th, a garden area will be prepped on the UUAsheville grounds.
On Sunday, Oct. 8th, children and youth from RE are invited to participate in planting the garden along with the UUAM chapter! Everyone is welcome to participate in creating this special garden!

Note: This film will be shown in person in Sandburg Hall and on Zoom. If you wish to view
the film on Zoom, request a link from Charlie Wussow at mnpopi@icloud.com .

Justice Ministry Film Night Friday, October 6th, 7 PM
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville
One Edwin Place, Asheville, NC 28801


Newton’s first law says objects in motion tend to stay in motion in a straight line unless outside forces act upon them and our congregation is certainly in motion. The sanctuary buzzes with excitement and hope each Sunday as we work together toward our individual and collective truths. Our hearts swell with the message of hope and we cry tears of joy and sorrow together as we move forward. I can barely keep up with the opportunities at UU Asheville and my experience only scratches the surface of what is available and possible.

As a scientist, I appreciate our faith influenced by the lived human experience, secular humanism, Judaism, Christianity, to name a few. Tracing the trajectory of our religion, Christianity was in motion when an outside force acted upon it altering its course. Each time an outside force altered the trajectory of our religion, the result was forward momentum forging a unique path unlike any other. From our Unitarian and Universalist roots we have arrived here now.

This is also true of ourselves as individuals, each of us with our own unique trajectory. Many of us were raised in a singular faith tradition, but when we learned about a different faith tradition in which we saw value, our bearing was forever altered. The straight line of our momentum was forever altered.

Newton’s first law also says objects at rest tend to stay at rest unless an outside force acts on them. Coming to a service on Sunday is frequently exactly when I need to get back in motion.

Adam Griffith, UU Asheville Board Vice President

Reflecting on Our Actions: The Ten Days of Awe

As a Jew, the Ten Days of Awe, also known as “Aseret Yemei Teshuvah,” is a period of deep introspection and repentance for myself as well as other Jews around the world.  These ten days span from Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Though we strive to practice self reflection throughout the year, the Days of Awe provide a sacred and dedicated time to pause, and truly engage in self-examination, seek forgiveness, and strive to make amends with others. The process involves reflecting on one’s actions, acknowledging mistakes, committing to positive change, and making a genuine effort to become a better person.

My faith has taught me that atonement is not about dwelling on past mistakes or harboring guilt; it’s about acknowledging our humanity and seeking the path to healing and reconciliation. It is a chance to mend broken bonds, not only with others, but in our commitment to care for and mend the earth, our relationship with G-d, and our own hearts.  Judaism also teaches that atonement requires action.  We must do the work and truly seek forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation directly with others.  We must replenish the earth.  And, we must mend our relationship with G-d.  We cannot atone by solely asking or praying to G-d for forgiveness.  We have to take personal responsibility and accountability for our actions and genuinely seek forgiveness and reconciliation.  

This is also a time to release the weight of resentment and anger, and instead, extend a hand of forgiveness and understanding. It’s a time to forgive others, not because they may deserve it, but because true forgiveness has the power to bring peace. And to be kind and forgive yourself, for we are all works in progress, and every stumble is a step toward becoming a better version of yourself. 

It may take time and work before we find the strength or are truly ready to forgive and reconcile.  It may extend beyond the years.  May these Days of Awe serve as a reminder that self-improvement and change is possible, that love and compassion are the keys to mending what is broken, and that embracing our true selves, acknowledging our flaws, and working towards positive change, can move us closer to a state of inner peace and harmony, and ultimately enrich our lives and those of others.

שָׁנָה טוֹבָה וּמְתוּקָה (transliteration Shana tovah u’metukah)
May you have a good and sweet year,
Wendy Motch-Ellis
Director of Administration

The Power of Partnerships

One of our UU Asheville Justice Ministry partners is The Unitarian Universalist Ministry of North Carolina (UUJMNC -Yes, we love acronyms! Here is a link to my acronym sheet cheat. Please submit entries that are missing!) UUJMNC has supported our “UU the Vote” events that mails postcards to disenfranchised voters. Executive Director Rev. Lisa Garcia-Sampson works tirelessly as a compassionate advocate with NC and national justice partners by reaching out to our legislators in the General Assembly to encourage them to vote in the interest of our citizens for Medicaid expansion, to protect voting rights, reproductive justice and many other high priority issues that affect our state. It can often seem to be an endless struggle, but Lisa and her partners (including many UU congregations) are relentless.

Each Friday, the Zoom Action Hour brings UUs and allies from across the state to ground themselves in the power of community, recap issues of the week and plan action on issues impacting our state and country. They make phone calls, send e-mails, write letters to the editor and learn together. Tomorrow at 11AM, DownHome North Carolina organizer Isabell Moore will speak with us about Public School Strong – the fast-growing state-wide movement that is equipping local communities to fight for adequate funding, and against racist and anti-LGBTQ policies in our schools. You can join via Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/91029655107 and sign up for the weekly Friday Action Hour promo email here. 

A few of our members attend Zoom Action Hour regularly:

“One of the best hours of my week… Community, education, action and really good music… I’ve learned so much, taken action on a wider range of topics than I would on my own and had 2 letters to the editor published on Sundays… I feel so grateful to have an opportunity to participate…”   – Bernise Lynch, they/them/theirs

“I believe the Weekly Action hours are great because: 1) they often have great guest speakers who talk about justice-related issues we would never hear about and; 2) they make it easy for you to help by identifying which elected officials to contact and providing suggested text for phone calls or emails.”   –Ed Prestemon

“I attend Friday Action Hour when I can… Rev. Lisa is tuned into what is happening in our state legislature in real time and gives us excellent information on actions that we can take to effect change. She makes it fun, nurtures our spirits and reminds us of the UU values that drive us to do justice work together.  It’s wonderful to be on a zoom meeting with UU’s from around the state of NC who are also passionate about social justice and to hear what actions they have taken in their home congregations….We hear from interesting guest speakers.  Recently the executive director of Carolina Jews for Justice led a workshop on understanding Antisemitism.”   – Joanne Fox

Consider joining us tomorrow, and be on the lookout for future events sponsored by UUJMNC. Their Annual State Wide Gathering is Oct. 7 at The UU Fellowship of Raleigh.  It’s an opportunity to join UUs from across the state to celebrate their work in 2023 and look ahead to 2024.. There will also be an opportunity to participate virtually. Register Here! I will be attending via Zoom and can host a watch party if you would like to join me. There might also be an opportunity to carpool. Please reach out if you are interested.   

In faith & grounded in community, we can make a difference,

Rev. Claudia Jiménez
Minister of Faith Development

Wednesday Dinner and Vespers October 4th

Dinner at 6:00 PM ·Vespers at 7:00 PM

Join us for a special evening of Vespers and decision-making. Our vespers will consider, in story, how we offer back to the world the love that makes us whole, and the work of our hands which makes this possible.

After our dinner and a time of story and sharing, we’ll generate a list of justice areas we think that we, as a community, should focus on together. Over the evening, and the following few weeks, we’ll vote to determine our top four communal justice priorities. This will help guide Revs. Audette and Claudia in their efforts and focus over the next year or two.

Because we are Stronger, Together! · Please RSVP here